Monday, December 31, 2018

Blessings for the New Year

St. Francis with the Holy Face by Hans Clement, Nuremberg, 1590 courtesy of Paul Badde

by Paul Badde
Paperback — 112 pages

List price: $12.95 
Today's Sale Price: $10.99!

Review  of Paul Badde's most recent book on the Holy Face by K.V. Turley of Catholic Exchange

Recent interview with Paul Badde in the National Catholic Register conducted by Joseph Pronechen

an excerpt from the interview is shown below

You mention other recent attacks on the Holy Veil coming from various sources, most of whom have not even seen the veil. Your book reveals the absurdity of those who say its devotion is based on an “infantile and old-fashioned” faith. Why might they be doing this? (JP)

As somebody who really should know, Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI told me literally in our last conversation that even “otherwise good theologians” tend to “believe in a grave of Christ that rather has not been empty”; in other words, that they couldn’t believe anymore in the resurrection from the dead as such, which he found “incomprehensible.” I instead find it quite comprehensible, since I know that relics and items of that kind aren’t important for theologians, as many of them tend to see it. Words, words, words are important. Many of them, however, just don’t realize that the Gutenberg Era is over — and that God really became man, not a book; all the Gospels came later, as written theology — and that this is the most unbelievable fact of our Creed, in a challenge to man’s mind unheard of before. But then: It’s easier indeed and more enlightened and “modern” to believe — as Nietzsche did — that God is dead rather than that he’s alive. (PB)

Was Benedict XVI’s visit to Manoppello a turning point in learning about the Sudarium, like a stamp of papal approval on this being the real veil of Christ?

Who on earth will read books and big volumes anyway in 100 years, in digital times, as we cannot imagine them today in the last days of the age of Gutenberg? However, because of the semantics, the syntax and the grammar of images, the image of his silent prayer in front of the Face of God in Manoppello on Sept. 1, 2006, will remain and speak forever louder and louder of his unique pontificate.

In your book you write, “Because the Creator of Heaven and Earth has shown His face not only to Jews and Christians, but to the whole world, the translucent image of Christ on that thin cloth will change the world and the course of history in a way that today no man can imagine.” How have you seen it change already?

Could you have imagined the changes the introduction of the first iPhone on June 29, 2007, has triggered in society? Nobody could have imagined these immense changes! The digital revolution is the challenge the world and the Church are facing, and it frightens many old-school scholars. That is exactly the historic context in which this True Icon of the Son of Man reappears in the history of man. He will resist every artificial intelligence as the next great threat to mankind and our freedom.

Tuesday, December 18, 2018

Holy Face at Center of Catholic Cultural Event "Week of Beauty" in Diocese of Grosseto (Tuscany)

Bishop Rodolfo Cetoloni at the front door of the Cathedral blessing the faithful with the replica of the Holy Face

Photos from the Facebook page of the Shrine of the Holy Face of Manoppello

Cardinal Tagle and Bishop Cetoloni at Week of Beauty

Text translated and adapted from articles by Giacomo D'Onofrio from the Diocese of Grosseto newspaper "Rinnovamento" 

and from articles whose links are found at

"Look for His face; Your face, Lord, I seek. Do not hide your face"

"The principal desire for this event - stated Msgr. Rodolfo Cetoloni, Bishop of Grosseto - is to take up the invitation that the Pope has repeatedly addressed to Christians: that of wearing new lenses with which to look at the other in front of us, to take a  more welcoming and less suspicious or fearful look, more open to the amazement of the novelty that the other always carries with him. Starting from the contemplation of the face par excellence: that of God. It is a theme that can involve everyone: from children to adults, from believers to those who are far from a personal journey of faith ".

Bishop Cetoloni addressing the faithful gathered in the Cathedral

 As in previous editions, the event of faith and culture was proposed by the diocese of Grosseto through its offices, with the collaboration of the Italian Bishops daily newspaper Avvenire and the monthly magazine of art and culture "The places of the infinite", of the Fondazioni Crocevia and university sectors of Grosseto; co-ordination is entrusted to the Municipality of Grosseto in collaboration with the Grosseto culture Foundation with Clarisse art and the archaeological and religious art museum of the Maremma.

To mark the Week there was a display in the cathedral (starting from 5.30 pm on Saturday October 20) of the reproduction of the Holy Face, a precious relic preserved for centuries in Manoppello which had already been brought to the church of Santo Spirito in Rome in January 2016.

 Guest of honor of this edition of the "Week of Beauty" was Cardinal Luis Antonio Tagle, archbishop of Manila and president of Caritas International. On Monday 22 October, he gave a learned discourse on the theme of the Week.

Wednesday, October 24  Sr. Gloria Riva, art historian and founder of the nuns of Eucharistic adoration spoke.

On Thursday 25th October, on the other hand,  an entire day was dedicated to contemplation and prayer before the Holy Face coinciding with contemplation and prayer at the Shrine of the Holy Face of Manoppello.

Live streaming of the Holy Face from the Shrine of Manoppello during prayer service in Cathedral of Grosseto

At 5pm on that day, in the cathedral, the journalist and writer Saverio Gaeta, editor of the weekly magazine Famiglia Cristiana and author of several books on the Holy Face of Manoppello spoke on"The Enigma of the Face of Jesus".

"Look for His face; Your face, Lord, I seek. Do not hide your face ».

In the days of the "Week of Beauty 2018" many times, those very many who participated in the various moments these words of Psalm 26 were proposed and repeated again and again. The theme of this third edition of the event of faith and culture organized by the Diocese together with the Fondazione Crocevia (Crossroads Foundation) along with the collaboration of many authoritative persons and associations, was in fact: «Your face I seek».

An invocation, which becomes an exploration capable of crossing millennia, generations of women and men of every language, of different cultures, of different states of life. It is the invocation of man, who feels in the depths an innate and sometimes unconscious longing for God, the profound desire to see and contemplate that Face, with each face bearing a glimmer of resemblance.

Christians can say that they have seen it, that Face! We saw it in Christ the Lord, the most beautiful of the sons of man, through whom we see the Face of the Father.  Starting Saturday October 20 and continuing until Sunday November 4 also in Grosseto it was possible to contemplate the face of the Lord, thanks to the reproduction of the Holy Face that was brought to us from Manoppello, the small center of Abruzzo where the original of the most important relic of Christendom is preserved.

And it is here that begins the gripping story of the Veil of Manoppello. A face that still speaks to us today, but that above all looks at us and from which, in the «Week of Beauty», it was possible to let ourselves be looked upon.  " My wish for you is that, contemplating the Holy Face, you can imprint it in your  heart in order to show it to others by your good example".Thus, with goodness, the Capuchin Father Carmine Cucinelli, rector of the shrine of Manoppello,  addressed the many faithful who on Saturday October 20 filled the cathedral to participate in the Mass in which was welcomed, the reproduction of the Holy Face encased within a beautiful silver reliquary, whose original is preserved in the shrine of the small Abruzzo town.

It was  Father Carmine himself who delivered the copy of this precious relic into the hands of Bishop Rodolfo Cetoloni in the square in front of the Duomo, in a climate of  emotional participation. The Bishop turned  the Face towards the city, before processing inside the cathedral, where the copy of the relic was placed on a special  pedestal to be venerated by the faithful.

 It was without doubt a gift to have a copy of the Holy Face in the days of the «Week
of Beauty », dedicated this year to the theme of the face we must seek -- that of God and that of others. A search that can only start from the contemplation of that sacred veil, in which two thousand years ago, at the moment of the resurrection, there was impressed forever the image of Christ. "The veil revered in Manoppello is the one true image of Jesus ", Father Cucinelli forcefully stated and added: "Looking at this Holy Face with faith, we can get an idea from it how Jesus looked". The face impressed on the veil of Veronica is the face of a man with eyes open, the look alive, the mouth slightly open.

 "It's a face that wants to tell us something", noted the Bishop in the homily of the
Mass. A wounded face, a face that carries in itself the signs of the passion, but at the same time
communicates life, brightness.

Because of this «We must look at it with love -  the rector of Manoppello urged -  to reflect that Jesus, for the sake of our love, had his face disfigured ". Father Carmine, in a few minutes, also recounted the vicissitudes that have affected this relic, which arrived in Manoppello in the 1600's, though it is not known by whom and when it was entrusted to the Capuchin friars, who since 1636 have in their preaching promoted the diffusion of devotion to Holy Face.

In 1999 there came a historical turning point: the Jesuit Father Heinrich Pfeiffer, German theologian and  art critic, announced to the world the news that the so-called Roman Veronica, that is, the true image of Christ, had been found in Manoppello. It is, in other words, the sudarium which, at the time of burial, was placed on the face of the Lord.

As described by Father Cucinelli, it is a small fabric of marine byssus , naturally water-repellent, which, can only be dyed after having been soaked with a dye for many hours. However  it cannot be painted upon . «And yet - underlined the Capuchin - on that veil  color is there! How do you explain this?  Scientists have come to the conclusion that, at the time of resurrection, Jesus emanated from his body a radial caloric energy, which was then transformed into light ». This energy has imprinted the image of the body of Jesus on the front and back of the cloth of the Shroud kept in Turin, while on the sudarium it has produced a photograph: the Holy Face «which when overlapping  the face of the Shroud shows a perfect correspondence with it ».

In short, a great gift for humanity, a relic in front of which you stop in contemplation in order to ask for that which Father Carmine had wished for the faithful of Grosseto: that the image of Jesus can be imprinted in everyone's heart, to be carried to others. This gift made to Church of Grosseto in the days of  the "Week of Beauty 2018" was, therefore, a great opportunity which also causes a great responsibility.

Report on Cardinal Tagle"s keynote address by Giacomo D'Onofrio

With his contagious smile, and a simplicity combined with the natural ability to enter immediately into relationships, and an evangelical joy that shines from every one of his gestures Cardinal Antonio Luis Tagle  discoursed on the face of God in Grosseto.  On the afternoon of Monday Oct. 22 very many people, including from neighboring dioceses, poured into the Cathedral to hear the the archbishop of Manila and president of Caritas international.  They did not  want to miss his  Keynote Address on the subject of the 2018 edition of the event organized by the Diocese with Fondazione Crocevia (Crossroads Foundation) and numerous collaborators: «I seek your face».

A profound intervention, deep, marked at times by the gentle humor of the cardinal and - in a few instances also by his emotion, and that will need to be heard and meditated upon still so that it might really become for the Church of Grosseto a fruitful idea.and wonderful invocation: «Your face I seek, do not hide your face! », that "expresses - said the cardinal - the sure certainty that God will come to help us in adversity ". 

Tagle began with Psalm 27 and from the psalm took the cue for a continuous reference between the Scripture and the existence of everyone, with precise examples regarding our own time. «The experience of the psalmist, who is facing his difficult life, constantly looking for the face of God because in him there is beauty, is very current - he has discovered - Just as we can fight evil with good, we can also fight ugliness of life with beauty, which is the face of God! »

And if today« the world goes looking for beauty in faces »and« there are many beauty products to make the face a more beautiful and radiant face ", the question that Tagle addressed to everyone was disruptive in its simplicity: «What is your true face? The one with which you are born or the one which you have chosen, modeled on the faces of some celebrities?

In many countries today - he continued - many  mutilated faces tell stories of wars, of harsh conflicts, of slavery, and of abuse" citing the document of  2006 of the Pontifical Council for  Culture «Via Pulchritudinis» (the way of beauty) to state that "The Church can respond to the difficult challenges of humanity by proposing the way of beauty ». It is certainly not a way of «Aesthetics» or not only an aesthetic as described by Cardinal Tagle, for whom the first form of beauty today is compassion.

«The culmination of beauty - he said - is the love of God manifested in Jesus ". Above all in Jesus crucified: «Contemplating that face - he pointed out, indicating the icon of the Face of Manoppello exposed in the cathedral - leads us to not desire any other beauty, because in him there is the perfect beauty, the beauty of true love that accepts sufferings so that others can live ".

And today, in front of "So many faces whose story is never told" is the "Compassionate face of God" that comes to meet us. Tagle invoked empathy "If we can fight the bad with good,we can also fight the ugliness of life with beauty, that is the face of God!"

We must then learn to look anew upon God, "the only one who can awaken our compassion ".
In him, in fact, "compassion, which is a maternal instinct, is  His very face! » Because of this "the mission of the Church and of the people of good will is to be the womb and the face of compassion for many children who feel they do not belong to anybody ». And to great applause Tagle, who upon entering the cathedral wanted to contemplate for some minutes the Holy Face, concluded with a wish: «We hope that the world might see the face of God, the beauty of God, through our compassion ".

Report by Giacomo D'Onofrio on Day of Prayer and Contemplation before the Holy Face on October 25

That relic clearly shows us the face of Christ in the moments following his resurrection from the dead.  We would like to describe for you what it means to pray in front of this relic.  In particular, regarding Thursday, October 25, when the whole day, in the cathedral, was marked by prayer thanks to the presence of two Missionary Sisters of Divine Revelation, who helped people to contemplate that Face, to gaze upon it and to let ourselves be gazed upon.

The highlight of the day was the hour of community prayer in video-conference with the shrine of Manoppello. It was thus possible for the many who filled the cathedral to pray with the many who gathered in the shrine cared for by the Capuchin friars of Abruzzo for a time that was deep, strong, and intense.

Video-Conference of prayer linking Shrine of Manoppello and Cathedral of Grosseto  

At the end of the prayer conducted by the Bishop, the song of the «Victimae Paschali», the ancient Easter sequence, before the Holy Veil, was very emotional. To sing that "Christ has truly risen from the dead", contemplating the face of the Risen One, has meant becoming fully aware of the great intensity of love with which Christ loved us. "In that human face - the Bishop underscored in his homily - we can recognize the whole journey of the humanity of God. He became a child, a teenager, a young man, became a worker, became a teacher: all the human journey appears to us in that face now risen! Then every human reality is signed by God with the cross and we can see the mercy of him, who so loved the world that he gave us his son ".

To understand this, it was equally helpful to listen to the compelling narration by the journalist and author  Saverio Gaeta, who reconstructed the stages that brought the relic of the Holy Face to Manoppello. Almost like a story from a novel, so many were the twists and turns. What is most important, however, is what was said by Gaeta at the beginning of the talk: "The Holy Face is the most important relic in the world" and its preciousness is entirely spiritual, because
"This is the true image of the risen Jesus, the culmination of all Revelation". Its story begins in the tomb, in Jerusalem, where Christ has risen as he had promised.

"That Veil - Gaeta explained- is the sudarium (face-cloth) of which John speaks in the Gospel. At the moment of the resurrection, by means of a prodigy that goes beyond us, that sudarium had impressed upon it the face of Jesus ». If the Shroud of Turin is the photograph of a corpse, "the Veil of Manoppello is color photography, which documents for us the Risen One who bears the marks of the passion upon himself". For the Jews, those cloths, which had enveloped a dead corpse of one who had suffered a bloody death, were unclean. "For this reason, for centuries - he explained - those cloths were hidden, in order to ensure that they would not be destroyed".